Woolies has recognised the pressure that staff faced during bushfires and the coronavirus pandemic by rewarding them with shares in the company. More than 100,000 full time and part-time team members in Australia and New Zealand will get $750 worth of shares in recognition of their work this year. Many faced abuse from customers as toilet roll shortages led to fights in the aisles.
Supermarkets have escaped the worst of the economic crisis as shoppers rushed to stock up. Woolies posted the strongest quarterly sales growth in more than a decade earlier this year. Other retailers have not fared so well although a rise in consumer confidence may lead to a brighter future. The ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer confidence index grew for the ninth week in a row, although it is still well below the long-term average.
In Tasmania, restrictions have been eased early in preparation for the upcoming long weekend. Up to 20 people can now gather and people are able to stay away from the night. The 30km travel restriction has also been lifted.
NSW will lift restrictions on gyms, dance studios and other physical fitness centres in a fortnight. Short term NSW holiday rentals are also seeing a boom in bookings as people look to explore the state after staying home for three months.
One legacy of the crisis could be the end of the office as we know it. Many people had to quickly adapt to working from home and some businesses may be questioning the need to pay for large office spaces as they look to shave costs. This change could benefit regional and rural Australia as people feel less tied to the urban centres where their offices were based.
The threat of new coronavirus spikes could also lead many to stay from home in the short term. South Korea was lauded for its action early in the crisis but is now locking down again after the virus rebounded. As Australia embarks on reopening the country how we deal with any future outbreaks is key to whether we have to return to the lockdown.
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